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Last Updated: Monday, 21 August 2006, 06:04 GMT 07:04 UK
Ferguson praises Rooney & Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo (left) and Wayne Rooney celebrate scoring against Fulham
Ronaldo (left) & Rooney were all smiles at Old Trafford on Sunday
Sir Alex Ferguson was full of praise for Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney after Manchester United's 5-1 triumph over Fulham on Sunday.

The pair were playing together for the first time since their World Cup clash.

"They linked up together on numerous occasions," said Ferguson. "You could tell he and Wayne are the best of pals.

"People always look for scapegoats but we have a great spirit here and we will not let that be affected by what people say outside the club."

Ronaldo was heavily criticised in sections of the British media after he appeared to encourage referee Horacio Elizondo to send-off Rooney during England's World Cup defeat to Portugal in July.

The Portuguese winger even hinted that the reaction could force him to leave United and was linked with a transfer to Real Madrid.

But Ferguson added: "The Fulham fans did boo Cristiano a bit at the start but in the end, even they were acknowledging what a great footballer the boy is."

We'll have another good season, I'm confident of that

Fulham boss Chris Coleman

Rooney scored two goals and Ronaldo one as United crushed Fulham, a result Ferguson described as "maybe our best start to a season".

The result equalled the scoreline of the United side of the 1905-06 campaign, who beat Bristol City on the opening day of the season.

However, there was a sour note for Ferguson, who was enraged by Michael Brown's two-footed challenge on Ryan Giggs in the second half, which only resulted in a yellow card.

"It was a bad tackle," said Ferguson.

Speaking to BBC Sport, assistant boss Carlos Queiroz added: "I know something naughty happened but let's forget it and hope those things are not repeated."

Fulham manager Chris Coleman remained surprisingly upbeat, despite his side's poor defensive display.

"They steamrollered us. We couldn't get the ball and when we did get it we gave it back too easily," he stated.

"We had a 10-minute patch when the wheels came off and then the game was finished.

"We have got Bolton on Wednesday and we need to improve on this performance. I'm confident we can do that. I've got to make sure my guys hold their heads up and show a bit of grit.

"We'll have another good season, I'm confident of that."

Man Utd 5-1 Fulham
20 Aug 06 |  Premiership
Sunday's football photos
20 Aug 06 |  Football
England beaten on penalties again
01 Jul 06 |  World Cup 2006


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